I didn’t expect writing to be the most difficult subject to tackle when we started homeschooling. Hello, I’m a blogger, a published writer, and would regularly write term papers in the last hours before they were due. Writing should have been simple to teach. I love words and stringing them together and getting them to grow. The thing is, my third grader loves reading. She loves telling stories. She doesn’t love writing those same stories down.
Thanks to our friends at Melanated Gold Review Squad, we’ve been able to check out a few writing programs. I’m here to share a bit about the Institute for Excellence in Writing‘s Structure and Style for Students, Level A. Let me tell you that when this came in the mail, I felt like an official homeschooler! I know that’s silly. I had already been homeschooling. And I had used a bunch of different curriculum, yet, unboxing this one made it feel official.
The reason this made me feel official is because it is what I thought homeschool would look like. It would be me, teacher’s manuals, and us sitting down for lessons. The reality is, in our house, homeschool looks a lot different. There is much more child-led learning paired with online programs and limited mommy-led lessons. Most of the time I’m used, more like a phone a friend option when she gets stuck somewhere. I like that this program allows me to stay in the support role but also gives JustaBXgirl the opportunity to follow a person in the video lessons. And having a teacher’s manual allows me to take time to truly understand what she’s being taught and to figure out home to comprehend it before I present it to her.
This is a great curriculum for families that are looking for a more traditional learning style. The videos are great because it gives students the opportunity to have a teacher in front of them in a classroom setting. It can help littles feel less alone knowing that there are other students in the group sharing their answers and work. JustaBXgirl misses that a bit from school. We play the videos and then pause when the teacher asks a question to give JustaBXgirl the chance to “participate” in the class. It does me good to see that many times, her responses align with what the students in the class are doing and saying.
The curriculum is superb. It does a good job of building upon itself and helps the student gain confidence. If your little is having trouble grasping something, feel free to repeat the unit. If they’re breezing through it, then perhaps double up lessons. The teacher’s manual can be helpful to adapt the program to your family’s needs. You know that my favorite thing to say is that you know what’s best for your family.
We will be using this curriculum as a supporting curriculum in our home. It is definitely complete and doesn’t need help from another curriculum yet, as I mentioned it feels more like traditional schooling. That isn’t the vibe that we are going for this year. Mr. Andrew Pudewa, the teacher in the videos, attempts humor with the students in the class and reminds me of some of JustaBXgirl’s old teachers. You can tell he is trying to connect to the students. I can see how it would work really well for some students transitioning from public school to homeschool. And even past transition, it can be a great model for some learners.
We are going to keep Mr. Pudewa as a special guest. We will use his videos and lessons to jump in when mama needs help. He will handle the complexities of writing when I can’t get JustaBXgirl past the blank sheet.
- How do children learn using this curriculum? They are in class! Your student sits down with the video to become introduced to the lessons and start their work for the week. Days 3-5 are more independent. They have their assignments and as their adult, you are there to support them.
- How can I track what my child is doing? You are part of the process. You are there to go over the work completed in “class.” You can also go over the work that they do in the class because the students keep the work in student binder.
- What input do I have in what my child is learning? You are delivering support for days 3-5 of each lesson. You also can decide if it will be a 5 day a week program in your home. The teacher’s manual gives tips on adapting it to how many days a week you plan on using it.
- What grades does this curriculum cover? IEW covers kindergarten through twelfth grade. The Year 1 Level A Basic covers grades 3-5.
- What does this curriculum cost? Structure and Style for Students: Year 1 Level A Basic is $149 and includes 24 Forever Streaming Videos, Student Packet and Binder, and Teacher’s Manual.
Don’t forget to head over and check out what my friends at Melanated Gold Review Squad think about this curriculum.